Tag Archives: peace

Haidakhan Babaji (part2)

click here for part 1

Haidakhan Calling

30 years after Haidakhan babaji had left the body I arrived in Haidakhan. Finally! Haidakhan had been on my radar for a long time and I always knew something was up there for me. 8 years ago I crossed the junction at Haldwani leading to Haidakhan while on an epic adventure trip through India on the classic Royal Enfield motorbike.


I often heard that one makes it only to Haidakhan when one is ready for the experience. Every now and then people immediately leave again upon arrival as the energy can be too much to handle all at once.

I had a strong sense of the appropriate timing now so I took the journey up there. I was literally jampacked with the locals in a shared jeep, me being one of the  sardines in a can making its way up on the long winding road through the hills. I really had to hurt myself in order to catch a glimpse of the amazing scenery unfolding. When we arrived in the valley, I jumped out of the can and  the sheer beauty  was  flooding me. I would stretch my fins out into paradise…


After checking in I immediately took to the riverbed for my first bath. After all I AM a fish and I thrive in water. The singing stream  here surfaces a little further up so it’s crystal clear water here which might be a very unique thing in this very polluted country. A reason for celebration on its own!


The day upon arrival is a day free from ‘duty’  so I spent it in the  gorgeous surroundings. I would find my favorite places for the next few weeks. Like the Hanuman statue in the middle of the riverbed next to an amzing Bodhi tree.Haidakhan_Babaji_16

In a funny way I had been looking forward to the daily schedule that starts at 4AM (!!) as yours truly wanted to regain a healthy portion of dicipline in his life.

I have to add immediately that we were kinda expected to take our morning bath in the river before 4.30, but after 8 felt a little better to me Haidakhan_Babaji_3when the sun was out to carress my body. Yes I was aware of the fact that Haidakhan babaji (who never or hardly slept) used to send people to have a bath at 2AM! Quite an awakener!

 Haidakhan_Babaji_7At 5AM it was time  for ‘chandan’ when colored sandalwood paste is being applied to the forehead in stripes and a dot (bindu), which leaves a cooling, grounding effect to the head. I missed chandan the first few times as  the clock of the man giving it  was half an hour ahead! But when I did catch up with him in Babaji’s ‘kutir’, ‘His’ room, the reward in the early morning was pretty awesome as the presence, energy, in there was very (very) strong, impossible to describe appropriately so let me put it very plain and dry here: it blew my mind away.


We were standing in line and had to move quickly in and out unfortunately but I managed to linger a little second longer (which is a long time seen from the timeless!) before I moved out and went into the temple to sit for meditation which was pretty easy with no mind interfering…

Haidakhan_Babaji_12At 6.30 aarti would start, the singing of devotional songs, everyday the same beautiful riddle. It was like stepping into a stream and by singing and singing one gets carried away by the flow itself and gets into surrendering mode word by word, closer and closer to the source of it all. Aum…..


You see, this is a bhakti path, a path of surrender to the divine by means of devotional actions. This path is relatively new to me (in this lifetime at least). What is very apparent here is the making of ‘pranams’ which means the bowing down in front of a statue or image. Where I totally loved to go with the rhythm of the songs and surrender more and more into that, the ‘bowing-thing’ went too far for me.


So where people were even throwing themselves on the floor, stretching out in front of Babaji, I remained with what felt real to me.

I noticed the fascinating hazy zone defined by learning to move more into surrendering mode but also staying true to my own experience and not being bothered too much by what the others are doing.

There were moments where I actually did bow down when I felt connected to my own guru self deep down there. That honouring felt like a gentle breeze inside of me washing away resistance.

Sacred_Places_7Then it was time for my daily porridge at Raju’s just outside the temple grounds with a view that took my breath away (if it was not gone already)

Or I was at the shop of a great fun guy called Pan who would always surprise you in his very cheerful way with things curiously available in such a remote place…Haidakhan_Babaji_21

Karma Yoga

If you would ask me: “what was Babaji’s main teaching apart from the very general notion of ‘truth, simplicity and love'” then I would have to answer you: Karma yoga!

Karma Yoga means selfless service, work offered to the divine. By working from that intention, one cleanses the layers of selfishness that most of us have around us. (I would say). I had known of karma yoga pretty much since I was on a spiritual path but never felt the inclination towards it for seemingly obvious reasons as I can do work anywhere and at anytime if I wanted to, right!?

But now I knew there was something here to discover for me, I felt passionate to understand its jewel as most often the most profound things are found right in front of the eager nose…


I’m sure you can imagine my excitement when I took to sweeping ; with the Indian version of a broom in my hand now I took to my duties as a ‘karma yogin’. With sufficient ‘truth, simplicity and love’ towards myself I would say even though I had a ‘little thing’ going on with ‘the others’ which very soon would challenge me a lot…


It was said in the morning gatherings that karma yoga is being done in community and everyone is working same hours and we all stick to the schedule. Great. Really.

Haidakhan_Babaji_9When everybody is feeling inspired from within then we all have a blast together doing our karma yoga. After all, being in community with a genuine community feeling has become a real desire of me. I got fortunate glimpses of that in the past and I have an intuitive outline of what it is that suits me. Even though yes indeed, I might hold a utopian ideal with me altogether…. time will tell…

Haidakhan_Babaji_13While I was sweeping my way inside myself being bended over the broom, hurting my back, which would soon be aching for some good oldscool Hatha Yoga, it suddenly dawned on me I was pretty much the only one working full-on, but as it might very well be my own projections surfacing from within the inner turmoil, I let it be while I was checking in with my guidance…

Haidakhan_Babaji_10I was also responsible for the trash in the ashram.  Organic is being separated from inorganic but still I had to swallow my resistance and burn the plastic (a curious indian custom). The fumes of the plastic and cloth and what is it not all went straight up around Babaji’s Kutir (the special place I described before and might be holy indeed in the core sense of the word), o irony!

Haidakhan_Babaji_11Yes I made it a point in the community but very soon had to let it go and surrender to the nasty Indian way. And as Babaji is able to manifest a body at will I’m sure he can deal with some nasty fumes as well…

There’s a curious mix of visitors here.  I have visited ashrams of Babaji in Holland and Italy and they were really nice places. Here in Haidakhan, apart from the Germans, it is the Italians who are strongly represented and I loved their craziness and the jolly passionate surrender when singing.

Haidakhan_Babaji_6I saw that karma yoga works, and how, and why… a sweet revelation. Even though my mind was often in a lot of agitation and hesitation between confronting the others (who insisted on the schedule) with their lack of alignment with the schedule and at the other hand stepping it up a notch towards just minding my own business.

Sacred_places_5In the end I found a middle way in partly expressing my frustration and leaving all the rest to ‘their own karma’.  At least I have swept my own!

A lot of that frustration simply vanished by me simply sweeping the ashram (often in the burning heat which made me take to electrolytes) and also by my three baths a day in this amazing Ganga water.

Sacred_Places_2So often there is talk of the holy rivers in India and the amazing benefits you get if you take a bath in a certain place. I never got that, but here I definitely got something in that understanding for myself, in a similar way I experienced it in the healing waters of Stuart Springs near mount Shasta in California, another place very dear to me.

Legend has it that the Kumaon Kailash in Haidakhan was the original centre of pilgrimage before it moved to the ‘popular’ Kailash in Haidakhan_Babaji_8Tibet. Whatever is true about it, the cave at its foot, where Babaji meditated for a long time -and it is said Shiva himself a loooooong time ago- is really special. I was always eager to get in there after my ‘karmic duties’ and river baths but

Haidakhan_Babaji_5after half an hour I would be burnt -not by the sun this time- but by the sheer power present there. I was hardly able to get out on my feet (even though I had to walk on all four to get in and out) to find my way  into the cooling river again.


The flow of my daily rhythm then would take me to Prakash at the ‘cave-side’ of the river. Prakash was Babaji’s pujari (someone who performs rituals and ceremony) for many years and now is pretty much retired and is fortunate to spend his remaining years in this divine center. He felt like a very old friend to me. His demeanor is so calm that it felt I not only took a bath in the river but soon after that also in Prakash’s presence. When he saw me from far he would wave and affectionately exclaim: ‘Shambu!’


We enjoyed each other’s presence mainly in silence, listening to the river and the wind in the trees. I would ask him questions on his life with Babaji which he answered but silence took over very soon again as if he were saying: ultimately, there really are no questions, there is only surrendering to and being THAT



check out part 1 where the Babaji story is put into perspective


useful links:






Haidakhan Babaji (part1)

Mahavatar Babaji

ShivaCreation evolves in a myriad of mysterious ways most often very hard for us to grasp with our human minds. Spirit and matter are endlessly progressing  together entangled in an eternal cosmic dance, condensed here on earth as life as we know it and even more as life as we cannot fully fathom (yet).

In this perspective I wish to present to you the story of Mahavatar Babaji. I invite you to read between my lines to find your own resonance with this most remarkable story while I share my own understanding distilled from my own experience climaxing around my recent stay in the Haidakhan centre of which I will talk in part 2…

BabajiEvery now and then divinity tends to manifests  in duality, incarnating in human form, in a very direct and uncompromised way. When such a being is around he/she’s being called an avatar or in some cases a Mahavatar, (great avatar),  a direct manifestation of the divine, in this case,  Shiva.

YoganandaLet’s start with Yogananda and his classic and famous book ‘autobiography of a yogi’ where the deathless saint ‘Babaji’ is being depicted for the first time towards the world as a being spectacularly appearing and disappearing from flashing  balls of light, often with the purpose of initiations to a lucky few.

After my years of vipassana meditation I took initiation in Babaji’s kriya yoga back in Paris. In this lineage Babaji is known as one of the 18 siddha’s. He is said to be born in 203 AD and as a boy of 11 did rigorous practices under the guidance of his guru Boganathar in Kathargama (Sri Lanka).  Among them was also Patanjali, famous Boganatharfrom the classic yoga sutras. Those siddhas were known for their highly advanced abilities to rejuvenate their bodies and attain a deathless state in which their cells are not decaying. It is said that some of them lived many hundreds and even thousands of years.

babajiUltimately Babaji moved to a very remote valley in the Himalaya’s where he has reportedly been residing ever since with a select group of initiates, working tirelessly for the benefit of the world in his subtle silent ways.Babaji

Lahiri MahasayaEvery now and then he would appear to a few in the world for specific purposes of inititation as was the case with Lahiri Mahasaya   in a few now legendary instances as described in Yogananda’s book.

Haidakhan BabajiAll those years I had known of Haidakhan Baba and always was very intrigued but in the kriya yoga lineage he is not acknowledged let alone connected to what/who is considered ‘Babaji – which is a very interesting thing in itself! Later on I learned the other way around Mahavatar Babaji is fully visible as connected to the manifestation of Haidakhan Baba. Babaji

It is said that Babaji was present on earth at least 5000 years back in the time of Mahabharata and even before that, in the time of Lord Rama.

In 1972 Haidakhan ‘bhole’ Baba was visited by a group of Tibetans, conversed with them in their own language and confirmed to them he has indeed been known in Tibet as lama baba 700 years earlier.

He also told about his previous manifestations as one of the teachers of Sri Shankaracharya, Jesus and Kabir.

In this light it is pretty fascinating to have an account of his latest manifestation as Haidakhan ‘bhole’ baba between 1970 and 1984 with an abundance of images and personal stories…

So here we go… this is the story of Haidakhan Baba! loosen your seatbelts!

Haidakhan Babaji

A boy with no traceable history or family lived in the forests of the Kumaon foothills of the Himalayas. He mingled with the local sadhus (‘holy’ men). Still in his teens he would move to the city of Haldwani and quietly connect with he people who would become major players in the story of the years to come.

Haidakhan BabajiOne day he appeared in Haidakhan, the small village at the foot of the Kumaon Kailash which had always been an auspicious place . He went meditating in the cave that is said to be as old as creation itself. He stayed there for a long time immersed in meditation.

Haidakhan Babaji

Haidakhan was also the place where ‘Old Haidakhan Baba’ lived (1800-1922)(!) , a saintly person who was held in very high esteem and whose life was surrounded by miracles and auspicious events.

There were established predictions of his return (re-incarnation) and there was a select group of people who were busy preparing the way for the return of Haidakhan Baba.

Haidakhan BabajiIt was Mahendra Baba’s life mission to maintain the already established temples connected to old Haidakhan Baba, constructing new ones and telling the people of the return of Babaji. He was actually visited by Babaji himself before he even manifested back again. He would never witness his actual return though as he passed away just before Babji went public.

Haidakhan BabajiMeanwhile In Haidakhan: ‘the boy’ started connecting with the locals and said he was the return of old Haidakhan Baba. Even though people were very skeptical, the news started spreading like fire and more and more people flocked around him.

He went to Vrindavan to hold satsang (‘gatherings with he divine’) as in the city of krishna an ashram of Old Haidakhan Baba was already established.

One of Mahendra baba’s disciples was instructed as to how to determine the authenticity of Babaji. One day, when he was sitting with Babaji in his room before going ‘on stage’ suddenly the exact predicted mantra came  blasting from all 4 walls. And there were no speakers in the room. Shastri’ji’ (who had the authority to do so) opened the door and shouted for all to hear: ‘Haidakhan Baba has returned!’

Haidakhan Babaji“In 1922 oOld Haidakhan Baba was ending his public manifestation. That year he gave some instructions to Gangotri Baba and handed him
tulasi mala (a necklace or rosary made of tulasi wood beads) in a cotton mala bag and told him to keep it safely, saying: “I will take it back when I come next time.”

In the autumn that same year Sri Babaji made a trip to Tibet and ended it in a town called Ashkot, near the Indian border with Nepal. Sri Babaji stayed there as a guest of a local rajah. Upon leaving the town, the rajah himself helped carry the palanquin in which Sri Babaji sat. Just out of Ashkot, Sri Babaji sent the rajah back home and continued the journey with some devotees.

Haidakhan BabajiAs the party came to junction of the Kali and Gori Rivers, Sri Babaji said to the small party he would come again for the benefit of all human beings. Then he simply stepped onto the waters of the river, which was very deep and swift at that point, walked on surface to the center of the river, sat in a siddhasana and changed into brilliant Light and disappeared…”

This story was shared in 1973 by Gangotri Baba, who returned Sri Babaji the tulasi mala he had given him for safe keeping more than 50 years ago…

this is how it went:

Haidakhan Babaji“Early in 1972 a very old man in ragged cloths came to Sri Babaji’s ashram in Vrindavan. It turned out that he is a great yogi form the Himalayas, Gangotri Baba, who was inspired to leave the mountains and to take Sri Babaji’s darshana.

Sri Babaji ordered Swami Fakiranand to offer the saint prasad (blessed food) and then, without words exchanged, sat down remained quiet.

Haidakhan Babaji


The next morning, Gangotri Baba returned for Sri Babaji’s darshan and then Sri Babaji said to Swami Fakirananda: “Get my mala back from Gangotri Baba”.

Swami was thinking that perhaps Sri Babaji had given a mala to this old saint previous day, so he said to him: “Baba is asking for the mala.”

Haidakhan BabajiThen Gangotri Baba smiled and told Swamiji the story about the mala which “Old Haidakhan Baba” had given him. He said he had brought the mala, in its original cotton bag, with him and he offered to get it from the place where he was staying. Sri Babaji said he could wait till the afternoon.

Later that day, Gangotri Baba came. He said that the bag had not been opened since old Haidakhan Baba had given it to him in 1922. “Now, after about 50 years, I am returning it to Babaji, to whom it belongs.”

Haidakhan BabajiCrowds became bigger and bigger, everybody wanted to see the return of Haidakhan Baba, westerners started coming in. There is an account of an atheist western engineer working in India who felt drawn to come and upon seeing Babaji exclaimed: “If God exists then this must be his human form!” He came back day after day as he was magnetically drawn to ‘His’ presence.

Haidakhan Babaji                                                                             Babaji never claimed supernatural powers but magical things were happening around him all the time. Often in subtle ways. It was known he could read the thoughts of people. An American woman had written a letter to Babaji when at home but had never dared to send it and threw it away ;  many months later when she was in the presence of Babaji he smilingly read the letter to her word by word.

Haidakhan BabajiHe established himself back in remote Haidakhan and even though the place was barely accessible more and more westerners came in after an arduous day-long  trek through the riverbed.

Haidakhan BabajiBabaji taught ‘truth simplicity and love’ by his own example and there was a strong emphasis on the practice of Karma Yoga, selfless work which he saw as the best spiritual practice in this age with so much inertia. He was busy day and night working in the ashram, from organising things to hard labour tilting rocks in the riverbed. It is said he never slept but only meditated deep in the night. Nobody saw him taking a meal only some bites here and there as a courtesy towards those who offered it and then gave it away as prasad.

Haidakhan BabajiThe people in the ashram were inevitably caught up in his ‘Lila’, divine play, even though IHaidakhan Babaji was told he could act like a clown and be utterly funny, he would also push people to their limits as he saw where people were in their evolution and he wanted everyone staying in Haidakhan to reap the best results for their own growth even though that implied lots of frustration being confronted with layers of inner resistance. If things got stuck for people he even asked them to go. Sometimes with the addition ‘and don’t come back!’ He could be very harsh on people, but beneath it was an ocean of love.Haidakhan Babaji

He himself said of Haidakhan:  “This is a sacred divine centre. You may travel the entire world but the peace of mind you acquire here you will find nowhere else”

I always thought of this in disbelief as there’s so many extraordinary places in the world of which I visited a lot already, but one day I would see and feel with my own eyes and being what Haidakhan is really like…

COMING UP in part 2: my adventures in Babaji’s ashram in Haidakhan!

Haidakhan Babaji

At the beginning of 1984 Babaji gave a few hints to some, indicating he might be  leaving his body very soon and it was on valentine’s day of the same year that he passed on once again…

For those interested, among the many books that have been written on the subject, the following 3 I found very insightful: